Chris's Change of Command

Chris's Change of Command

Daily Bible Verse

Monday, December 20, 2010

We May Be In For a LOONNG Winter!

Snow in December! A very rare occasion in the south. Even where we are in VA tends to be mild weather in the winter some of the time. Last week, school was canceled on Thursday due to the threat of snow starting around 11:00 in the morning. We watched the skies carefully all morning and we were NOT disappointed. We only got about 4 inches, but it was enough to go out and have some fun with our friends. I may need to invest in some snow pants this year. I guess we will wait and see.

Tastes so yummy

I love this shot of Madie talking to Hannah Beth. Madie is so sweet with her. She just chats and giggles and Hannah adores her.

Kyle and Luke. Could barely get a shot of any of the boys due to extreme fun in the snow.

I rigged the umbrella to cover Hannah so she could hang out with us while we played.

Sue pulling two of her kiddos on boogey(sp??) boards. See, we are prepared for the beach, not snow.

"Faster, Mommy, FASTER!!!"

Makes our Christmas decor look even more festive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Visit with Santa

By Hannah Elizabeth Steele

"Luke! Hayley! What is going on guys? You seem so excited about standing in this long line with all these strange people. What gives?"

"Santa? Do I know Santa? You know I am not fond of new people."

"HE DOES WHAT? He comes down OUR chimney and leaves us presents while we are sleeping. Is that even legal?"

"Hayley, I know you are trying to comfort me and tell me, oh, he is so nice, but I' m not buying it."

"SERIOUSLY! You have got to be kidding me. You are leaving me HERE on his LAP. I've had it with you people."

Never Say NEVER

I had a list of nevers when I was young, newly married, and without children.

*I would NEVER drive a mini-van.

*I would NEVER let my child have a pacifier past the age of 6 months.

*I would NEVER just sit my kids in front of the tv to watch for more than 30 minutes.

*I would NEVER allow my child to rummage through the magazines and pull them apart.

I could list more, but it's just kind of embarrassing at this point. Every one of my nevers have been broken at some point. I have learned to never say never. There are days when you just have to be in survival mode and two hours of Scooby Doo and Martha Speaks are not going to send your children into a life long downward spiral. And the minivan, I have to say I love my van and I will probably buy another one when it is time to get a new car.

Here are some of the nevers that Luke and Hayley experienced, but Hannah Beth with NEVER know:

Pulling all of my books off the bookshelf and flipping through old photos unassisted

Pulling out all the shoes from the shoe basket about 10 times a day.

Rummaging through the pots and pans cabinet. All Luke and Hayley ever got to play with was the tupperware

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sippy Cup Stand Off

Transitions. One of the most exciting, frustrating, thrilling, maddening, and fun to watch things in the life of a parent. There are soooo many when they are very little. Just when you think you are getting the hang of feeding the baby every 3 hours, it is time to drop a feeding. Just when your routine of 3 naps a day and bedtime at 8:00 is getting to be the norm, baby decides to drop and nap and move bedtime earlier. Rolling to crawling to walking, starting solids, and of course POTTY TRAINING. (Can't wait to go through this one again.... note the sarcasm).

I have heard of children who do these things over night, in a snap, with no problem, you get the point. My children have been a mix bag. Some transitions have been very easy, some we have struggled through to the end, and some we are still working on to this day (even with the 7 year old).

While you are in the midst of a transition, it seems like it will never end. I remember when Luke was a baby and he was transitioning from baby food to table food. I thought it would never happen. He had such a sensitive gag reflex that table food choked him and up everything came. But here we are and I don't have to spoon feed him. He can eat a piece of pizza with the best of them! Once I make it over the hurdle, my mind automatically dumps all the info that went into getting whatever child it was to the place he or she was going. Almost as if when I take that final sigh of relief that we made it, all the frustration and craziness escapes me. Kind of nice.

Hannah has been transitioning from bottle to sippy cup. What info I retained from this transition with Luke and Hayley was the following:

1. When Luke would not take the sippy cup I originally bought, I proceeded to Target and bought approximately 127 different cups for him to try (straw cup, soft spout, hard spout, cup with handles, insulated cup, cup without handles......) IT WAS MADNESS. So I bought a few kinds of cups (one straw cup, one hard spout with handles, and one soft spout) to see which one she would like out of the three. Three is much easier to store in your cabinet than 127.

2. Hayley NEVER took a bottle and I think it made the transition easier with her. No more Mommy milk, so I guess I have to drink from this cup right here. Easy as pie.

Hannah LOVED her bottle. She always has from the day she first took one. I was trying the "weaning" method with a bottle at breakfast and a cup the rest of the day. She basically just tossed the cup to the floor and only drank the bottle of milk in the morning. The sippy cup strike began. And so did the tears and constipation. FUN!

I decided to go cold turkey, no more bottle last Thursday. We endured a lot of crying, throwing cups, screaming and pretty yucky days, but I am happy to say that we are now more than thrilled with the cup.

Another transition success. I am SO looking forward to potty training! (HA)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Steeles March on DC

Hopefully this was the first of many visits to our Nation's Capital. One of the many great things about being a Marine Corp family is all of the great places you get the chance to experience all around the country. We are only 4 hours from DC, so Chris and I thought we should take advantage of how close we are and take the kids to see Washington DC for the first time. It was actually Luke's second time, but he was 15 months the first time he went so he doesn't remember it. Although he would argue that he does!
When we arrived on Friday afternoon, we really had no game plan on where to go first. We knew we wanted to go the the National Mall, but when we discovered our hotel was close to the International Spy Museum, we thought we would give it a shot.

There was a line and it took us about 30 to 45 minutes to get into said Spy Museum. You get to choose your own secret spy identity before heading to the briefing room about your "mission". We all were enjoyed the museum, but decided that it is much more suited for older kids. We couldn't take Hannah Beth's stroller inside, so Chris and I had to take turns carrying our 23 pound squirming bundle for the hour it took us to get through. I did enjoy seeing the Aston Martin car that was driven by "James Bond" in one of his movies. Pretty cool. I also walked away from the spy museum trying to figure out who in DC was a tourist and who was a spy.

Our hotel was also a few blocks from the Ford Theatre where Lincoln was shot. Luke has been very interested in President Lincoln lately, and he was all about seeing the theatre. Across the street is the house where Lincoln was taken after the shooting, and where he died only hours later. I had remembered seeing these things as a 7th grader on our school trip. Walking in the same spot where our countries history has taken place never gets old.

Friday night was most interesting with all 5 of us in the same room. Needless to say, it was not a great night sleep, but we were all up and excited to spend the day touring. And touring we did!
We headed to the American History Museum to see one of my absolute favorite things on display in the Smithsonian, the flag that was flown over Ft. McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. I think Luke and Hayley were as impressed as I was as a little girl the first time I saw it. It was Chris's first time seeing the flag too, and he said it was his favorite moment of the trip. We also saw Lincoln's hat that he wore the night he was assassinated, several of the First Lady's inaugural ball gowns, and Julia Child's kitchen.

It was an absolutely beautiful day. A little chilly and windy, but the sky was clear and the sun was shinning. We spent the next 5 hours walking to see the White House,

The White House Christmas tree,

The World War II Memorial,

The Lincoln Memorial,

view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,

and The Air and Space Museum.

This baby girl was such a trooper. She never fussed, napped through the cold and windy weather, and had a big smile for us at the end of the day.

After the day was said and done, I think we had walked about 5 miles. So worth it!!!! Can't wait to try and return in the spring before we headed out of Virginia to who knows where this coming summer.

Turkey for Me, Turkey for You

Two feasts at school for this Mama again this year. Luke's class sang for the parents and then had desserts to share back in the classroom. He had to close out the program and thank everyone for coming. He did a great job. Public speaking doesn't seem to bother him one little bit. We have always said that he may pastor a church one day after the 10 minute prayer/blessing he gave at the Christmas table when he was 3! Sweet boy!

Hayley's class put on a puppet show retelling the story of the first Thanksgiving. They were so cute. Hayely was a pilgrim girl puppet and the baby that was born on the Mayflower. We then feasted together and made a craft.